Portland is called the "Rose City" for a reason. These public gardens were established in 1917 and set above the cityscape of Downtown Portland. They are the oldest official public rose gardens in the United States and the only place in North America that can officially issue recognized awards for hybrid roses grown around the world. The best time of the year for viewing is during the summer, when the fragrant blooms begin to appear and continue until frost.
Portland Japanese Garden includes waterfalls, koi filled ponds, a wisteria arbor and even a tea-house that was built in Japan with ancient construction techniques. It features five unique gardens. The Strolling Pond contains the five-tiered stone pagoda lantern given to Portland in 1963 by Sapporo, Portland's sister city in Japan. Many events are observed in the gardens, including Children's Day, the Tanabata Star Festival and the Obon Spirit Festival. Garden curators also offer classes in Japanese culture and gardening techniques.
A serene sanctum lying to the east of downtown Portland, this picturesque city park is unusual in more ways than one. Built on the grounds of an old volcanic cone, the park is a natural wonderland where trails and paved pathways wind through rolling meadows and dense forests. The park is also home to an amphitheater, a dog park, a horseshoe pit and courts used for various other sports. A delight for the avid hiker, Mount Tabor affords splendid views of the city's diverse landscape. Although much of the volcano's cinder cone has been paved, a part of it still remains, letting visitors in on the long-standing history and geological marvel it cradles in its depths.
For more than 75 years, The Grotto has held a special place in the hearts of the locals. The 62-acre (25.09 hectares) site is a Catholic sanctuary that also features beautifully kept botanical gardens. Visit the shrine of "Our Lady's Grotto," which is not only spiritual, but a geological marvel since it's a cave carved into the base of a cliff with a replica of the Pietà sculpture in the center of the rock cave. After admiring the shrine, take the time to tour the grounds and marvel at the beautiful plants then visit the spectacular gift shop. Visitors are also welcome to attend mass. If you want a real treat visit during annual Festival of Lights. While the lower grounds and gift shop are free to visit, there is a small fee to enter the upper levels of The Grotto.
This facelift on the east bank of the Willamette River gives walkers an intimate experience with the waterfront. The 1.5 mile (2 km) walkway- one of the longest floating walkways in the United States- stretches along the river between the Hawthorne and Steel bridges. Along a walk or bicycle ride, you will take in views of downtown and the current events taking place across the river on the west bank at Waterfront Park. There are also old-fashioned lamps, sculptures and scripts describing Portland's great shipping history along the way.
This is Hollywood, revisited. Perhaps not the California version, but Portland's little corner of the Hollywood District. The surreal exterior of this fine movie house, which bears a strong resemblance to a Walt Disney castle, makes it worth a visit. The renovated theater boasts a lavish decor, cheap admission to second-run films, comfortable seats and all the snacks. Enjoy an afternoon or evening of pure childlike entertainment. The charming setting makes the place perfect for a movie with family but it also very popular for date nights.
Officially named Tom McCall Waterfront Park, but known to Oregonians as just Waterfront Park, this is often the center of activity in Portland. Festivals, parades, performers and more make it truly a taste of Rip City. Walk along the Willamette River at lunch and you're sure to brush shoulders with the city's workers. There is always something interesting to see here at Portland's answer to Venice Beach in California. There are basketball courts and lots of open, green spaces along the west bank of the Willamette River. The need for additional parks and green spaces in the city led to construction of the park.
This seven-screen theater is not your typical cinema experience. Living Room Theaters are designed to make movie-goers feel as though they are in the comforts of their own home and that happens to be quite luxurious. Gather with friends next to a fireplace, order drinks and gourmet food from the cafe and prepare to settle in and enjoy a good film. Though more popular for their movie screenings, this theater is also extended for private events. Occasionally, Living Room Theaters has also been a venue for live music events.
Float along the Willamette River in this cruise boat as you take in wonderful views of the city, bridges and reflections off the water. The main attraction is the river, but the Northwest meals are equally appealing. Entrees include baked salmon and chicken dishes accented by baby potatoes and rice pilaf. The wine list also has local treasures or you can order from the full bar. The seating area includes tables for small parties or groups, with a total capacity of 499 people.
The Kridel Grand Ballroom is one of the top venues for weddings in the city. Its ambient setting replete with high ceilings and sleek decor gives it an edge from other places. It also features a proscenium stage and customized sound and projection equipment. This elegant ballroom is also used for galas and corporate functions.